Genetic components of functional connectivity in the brain: The heritability of synchronization likelihood


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Abstract

Cognitive functions require the integrated activity of multiple specialized, distributed brain areas. Such functional coupling depends on the existence of anatomical connections between the various brain areas as well as physiological processes whereby the activity in one area influences the activity in another area. Recently, the Synchronization Likelihood (SL) method was developed as a general method to study both linear and nonlinear aspects of coupling. In the present study the genetic architecture of the SL in different frequency bands was investigated. Using a large genetically informative sample of 569 subjects from 282 extended twin families we found that the SL is moderately to highly heritable (41–67%) especially in the alpha frequency (8–13 Hz) range. This index of functional connectivity of the brain has been associated with a number of pathological states of the brain. The significant heritability found here suggests that SL can be used to examine the genetic susceptibility to these conditions. Hum Brain Mapp, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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